Celebrate and share the work of JCU researchers as they strive to aid the 2030 target for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Urban planning and design for the SDGs seminar showcases the exciting ways that sustainable urban planning and design can transform the future for cities in the Tropics.
By 2050, half of the world’s population are going to be living in the tropics and the majority of them are going to be living in tropical cities. Hand in hand with this population growth, is the projection that 60 per cent of the world’s infrastructure in the next 10 years is yet to be built.
These startling numbers inspired JCU applied economist and Senior Lecturer Dr Taha Chaiechi, who is Australian Director of Centre for International Trade and Business in Asia at JCU, to propose the 2019 Cairns Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) ‘Urban Design, Economic Growth, and Jobs of the Future, in the Tropics’.
JCU’s participation in the State of the Tropics Project has been essential in enabling researchers to lead the way in innovative solutions in order to address the United Nations SDGs.
“The State of the Tropics Project was really the beginning of this kind of movement for JCU,” Taha said. “I think we can definitely set examples on so many fronts. The State of the Tropics and other public forums that we have had, and are planning to have, are bringing us together to find new ways to integrate better across our disciplines.”
The Cairns UTC event contributes to a constellation of events around the world that address local issues on a global scale, and bring together a cross-section of voices in “a dialogue that starts at a small scale and becomes global”.
One of the most rewarding parts of UTC events, said Taha, is their collaborative nature both locally and globally.
“When a proposal to hold a UTC is accepted by UN-Habitat, each UTC is given a dedicated homepage on the World Urban Campaign (WUC). If you visit the WUC website, you can choose a year from the UTC calendar and the world map will show you all the Urban Thinkers Campuses around the world in every given year. If you click on any UTC on the map you can see everything about that event, including participation, teams, presentations, and the final report.”
The 2019 UTC is just the beginning for Taha and JCU researchers in addressing the SDGs via the UTC model.
“My hope is to have another one next year to have a look at other aspects of sustainable development — maybe the next one can be with a focus on the environment or on the community,” she said. “I don’t want this to be a one off for me. I’d like to carry the torch for one or two more events in the next two years. In terms of JCU’s participation in this global movement, it would be great to build a comprehensive profile that covers the SDGs and shows our serious commitment to the 2030 Agenda.”
Come along to the Urban planning and design for the SDGs Seminar to hear Dr Chaiechi and Dr Tavares speak more on the UTC event, and hear Dr Emmanuel Acheampong discuss the complex issues surrounding farming and forests in Ghana.